Urban Hospitality Concepts

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Urban Hospitality Concepts

Our family history

Entrepreneurial diversity and performance

Shoes and accessories, washing machines, cameras, razor blades and rubber: The Bernings were never lacking for diversity in their business ventures. The history of the company dates back to the early 20th century, when Hermann Berning traveled to England and realized that the men there wore rubber corners under their heels to keep the leather soles from wearing out. Upon his return to Germany, he founded the Schwelmer Gummiwaren Gesellschaft – laying the foundation for his increasingly diversified business empire.

Hermann’s son, Helmut, joined the company in 1934. He devoted his passion to the wringers and washing machines at Rondo, a company that belonged to the corporate group. Helmut devoted his commitment and his own patents to make the company the most successful washing machine manufacturer after Miele – until the war and the years following forced him to shift gears to support other Berning Group companies.

Helmut produced cameras, then razor blades and refrigerators. But he couldn’t shake his interest in washing machines. He secretly developed and continued building, and was able to sell his machines in the flourishing bartering trade during the years following the war. Confronted by fluctuating market demands, he eventually returned to the shoes that started the history of his family’s company.

In 1983, the next generation was ready to start working on their own entrepreneurial ideas. Helmut’s son, Hans-Joachim, turned his and the company’s focus to buying and selling real estate. His son, Gordon, is also charting his own course – after learning to be a chef and completing his General Management training, he opened his B-Boardinghouses in Düsseldorf – laying the foundation for the constantly growing Berning Hospitality Group.

Our family history

Entrepreneurial diversity and performance

Shoes and accessories, washing machines, cameras, razor blades and rubber: The Bernings were never lacking for diversity in their business ventures. The history of the company dates back to the early 20th century, when Hermann Berning traveled to England and realized that the men there wore rubber corners under their heels to keep the leather soles from wearing out. Upon his return to Germany, he founded the Schwelmer Gummiwaren Gesellschaft – laying the foundation for his increasingly diversified business empire.

Hermann’s son, Helmut, joined the company in 1934. He devoted his passion to the wringers and washing machines at Rondo, a company that belonged to the corporate group. Helmut devoted his commitment and his own patents to make the company the most successful washing machine manufacturer after Miele – until the war and the years following forced him to shift gears to support other Berning Group companies.

Helmut produced cameras, then razor blades and refrigerators. But he couldn’t shake his interest in washing machines. He secretly developed and continued building, and was able to sell his machines in the flourishing bartering trade during the years following the war. Confronted by fluctuating market demands, he eventually returned to the shoes that started the history of his family’s company.

In 1983, the next generation was ready to start working on their own entrepreneurial ideas. Helmut’s son, Hans-Joachim, turned his and the company’s focus to buying and selling real estate. His son, Gordon, is also charting his own course – after learning to be a chef and completing his General Management training, he opened his B-Boardinghouses in Düsseldorf – laying the foundation for the constantly growing Berning Hospitality Group.

  • 1900

    Hermann Berning (born 1877) worked at a shoemaker supply wholesaler in Mettmann owned by his cousin. He traveled to England, where something unusual caught his attention: The men wore replaceable rubber corners on their heels to protect them from wear and tear.

  • 1904

    “Schwelmer Gummiwaren Gesellschaft” is founded in Hanover along with Continental Gummi-Werke AG. Over the next 30 years, Continental manufactured the rubber corners and allowed Hermann Berning exclusive distribution.

  • 1927-1931

    The Rondo company, manufacturer of wringers and washing machines, is founded in Schwelm, as well as Continental. Four years later, Continental left Rondo, which meant that the company was wholly owned by the Berning family.

  • 1934

    Helmut started working on his secret passion within the very diverse corporate group: the wringers and washing machines made by Rondo. The washing machines became the mainstay of the group of companies with a winning slogan: “Rondo – different from all the rest!”.

  • 1936

    The Berning Group acquired the razor blade factory Gebr. Niepenberg in Solingen – including a department responsible for manufacturing refrigerators.

  • 1937

    Acquisition of GEOS shoe factory in Düsseldorf.

  • 1939

    World War II brought a sudden end to the group’s success and plans for expansion. Washing machines were not considered strategically vital, and the company was only able to prevent people and machines from being confiscated by accepting arms orders. After Schwelm was bombed, killing three Berning employees, the valuable production machines were relocated to the Austrian city of Dornbirn.

  • 1945

    Directly following the war, Helmut Berning starting manufacturing cameras at his company, Robot before being arrested by the English occupying forces. After six weeks of incarceration and a short time at a prison camp, he was released.

  • 1946-1948

    Refrigerator manufacturing becomes a very interesting sector. Helmut Berning also received a production permit for the razor blade factory Gebr. Niepenberg and continued working on his passion project, the washing machine. He revived Rondo after the company had declined into irrelevance during the war. Two years later, Berning sold the first washing machine following the monetary reform for 1,000 marks. Rondo then becomes part of the famed German economic miracle.

  • 1960

    A saturated market and price wars in the washing machine segment made it difficult for Rondo to compete. Helmut Berning sold the company and shifted his focus to the shoe market with the GEOS company, which emerged from the war practically unscathed. Several shoe companies were acquired, and subsidiaries expanded.

  • 1975

    GEOS becomes the largest shoe wholesaler in the Federal Republic of Germany. The company is healthy, sales extremely positive and the equity ratio is high.

  • 1983-1985

    After several internal posts within group companies, Helmut Berning’s son, Hans-Joachim (born 1949), took over management of the entire holding. He stepped down after two years after encountering friction with GEOS. At age 74, Helmut Berning returned to running the business.

  • 1992

    In 1992, Hans-Joachim Berning once again became Co-director of GEOS and shifted the company’s focus: away from shoes and towards buying and selling real estate. By acting skillfully, Hans-Joachim manages to build a diversified real estate portfolio and to manage it successfully without vacancies.
  • 2009

    Hans-Joachim Berning’s son, Gordon (born 1978) joined his father’s company after learning to be a chef, spending several years abroad and completing his training in general management. He became Co-director of the Berning holding company in 2012.

  • 2016-17

    Gordon Berning recognized that he couldn’t make his dream of opening his own hotel a reality in his father’s company. He founded B-Boardinghouse GmbH & Co. KG in Düsseldorf. The first B-Boardinghouse Düsseldorf opened on Eisenstraße in 2017.

  • 2018

    The company opened its second building in Düsseldorf with B-Boardinghouse II on Friedrichstraße.

  • 2021

    Gordon Berning founded the Berning Hospitality Group, developing three franchise concepts for modern, temporary living in urban spaces with B-Boardinghouse, B-Hotel and B-Student Living. The group opened the first B-Hotel in Düsseldorf in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – the most difficult crisis facing Germany since World War II: B-Hotel offers modern, versatile temporary living concepts across 5 apartments and 21 rooms.

  • 1900

    Hermann Berning (born 1877) worked at a shoemaker supply wholesaler in Mettmann owned by his cousin. He traveled to England, where something unusual caught his attention: The men wore replaceable rubber corners on their heels to protect them from wear and tear.

  • 1904

    “Schwelmer Gummiwaren Gesellschaft” is founded in Hanover along with Continental Gummi-Werke AG. Over the next 30 years, Continental manufactured the rubber corners and allowed Hermann Berning exclusive distribution.

  • 1927-1931

    The Rondo company, manufacturer of wringers and washing machines, is founded in Schwelm, as well as Continental. Four years later, Continental left Rondo, which meant that the company was wholly owned by the Berning family.

  • 1934

    Helmut started working on his secret passion within the very diverse corporate group: the wringers and washing machines made by Rondo. The washing machines became the mainstay of the group of companies with a winning slogan: “Rondo – different from all the rest!”.

  • 1936

    The Berning Group acquired the razor blade factory Gebr. Niepenberg in Solingen – including a department responsible for manufacturing refrigerators.

  • 1937

    Acquisition of GEOS shoe factory in Düsseldorf.

  • 1939

    World War II brought a sudden end to the group’s success and plans for expansion. Washing machines were not considered strategically vital, and the company was only able to prevent people and machines from being confiscated by accepting arms orders. After Schwelm was bombed, killing three Berning employees, the valuable production machines were relocated to the Austrian city of Dornbirn.

  • 1945

    Directly following the war, Helmut Berning starting manufacturing cameras at his company, Robot before being arrested by the English occupying forces. After six weeks of incarceration and a short time at a prison camp, he was released.

  • 1946-1948

    Refrigerator manufacturing becomes a very interesting sector. Helmut Berning also received a production permit for the razor blade factory Gebr. Niepenberg and continued working on his passion project, the washing machine. He revived Rondo after the company had declined into irrelevance during the war. Two years later, Berning sold the first washing machine following the monetary reform for 1,000 marks. Rondo then becomes part of the famed German economic miracle.

  • 1960

    A saturated market and price wars in the washing machine segment made it difficult for Rondo to compete. Helmut Berning sold the company and shifted his focus to the shoe market with the GEOS company, which emerged from the war practically unscathed. Several shoe companies were acquired, and subsidiaries expanded.

  • 1975

    GEOS becomes the largest shoe wholesaler in the Federal Republic of Germany. The company is healthy, sales extremely positive and the equity ratio is high.

  • 1983-1985

    After several internal posts within group companies, Helmut Berning’s son, Hans-Joachim (born 1949), took over management of the entire holding. He stepped down after two years after encountering friction with GEOS. At age 74, Helmut Berning returned to running the business.

  • 1992

    In 1992, Hans-Joachim Berning once again became Co-director of GEOS and shifted the company’s focus: away from shoes and towards buying and selling real estate. By acting skillfully, Hans-Joachim manages to build a diversified real estate portfolio and to manage it successfully without vacancies.
  • 2009

    Hans-Joachim Berning’s son, Gordon (born 1978) joined his father’s company after learning to be a chef, spending several years abroad and completing his training in general management. He became Co-director of the Berning holding company in 2012.

  • 2016-17

    Gordon Berning recognized that he couldn’t make his dream of opening his own hotel a reality in his father’s company. He founded B-Boardinghouse GmbH & Co. KG in Düsseldorf. The first B-Boardinghouse Düsseldorf opened on Eisenstraße in 2017.

  • 2018

    The company opened its second building in Düsseldorf with B-Boardinghouse II on Friedrichstraße.

  • 2021

    Gordon Berning founded the Berning Hospitality Group, developing three franchise concepts for modern, temporary living in urban spaces with B-Boardinghouse, B-Hotel and B-Student Living. The group opened the first B-Hotel in Düsseldorf in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – the most difficult crisis facing Germany since World War II: B-Hotel offers modern, versatile temporary living concepts across 5 apartments and 21 rooms.

Our philosophy

The Berning Hospitality Group dedicates its strong intuition and experience to developing and marketing modern living concepts with an eye for great design. The group employs contemporary flair, an instinct for excellent service and the conscious use of resources for its successful properties.

Our Philosophy

The Berning Hospitality Group dedicates its strong intuition and experience to developing and marketing modern living concepts with an eye for great design. The group employs contemporary flair, an instinct for excellent service and the conscious use of resources for its successful properties.

Our philosophy

The Berning Hospitality Group dedicates its strong intuition and experience to developing and marketing modern living concepts with an eye for great design. The group employs contemporary flair, an instinct for excellent service and the conscious use of resources for its successful properties.